In this article, you’ll find recommendations on making the most of software development in 2021. These tips are focused on managerial but not technical aspects of work.
Software development is a complex process that requires thorough coordination of multiple aspects. You should hire skilled professionals, optimize your internal and external communications, plan things ahead and document the progress of each project. In this article, you’ll find recommendations on how to enhance the efficiency of the development process thanks to smart managerial approaches. These tips should come in equally handy for development teams that work remotely and those who meet every day in offline offices.
Make Sure Your Stakeholders Agree on the Scope and Requirements of the Project
Before you start developing software, you should outline the project’s scope and gain a common understanding of it. If you define the scope of upcoming work clearly enough, it should enable you to focus on product development that addresses the business challenges. Plus, your staff will get a reliable check-point for the software development process. You’ll be able to see the big picture and translate your primary goals into a comprehensive technology solution. Your team members won’t lose time and effort working on a bunch of disconnected requirements.
The better you understand the project’s requirements and expectations, the more precisely you can evaluate its success. You should define the following parameters of the project:
- SMART goals
- Software features
- Evaluation points
Before you launch the project, you should openly discuss all its metrics and characteristics with the stakeholders.
Draft a Detailed Plan for the Project
You should plan in advance the following aspects of your project:
- The quality of the final product
As for the features, it might be tricky to plan them ahead. You might need to flexibly add, remove and modify features on the go to respond to business change.
It would be wise to draft the plan together with your whole team. When you join forces, it will be easier for you to set a realistic project timeline and estimate while ensuring a certain amount of flexibility. Collectively, you should discuss the following elements of the project’s plan:
- Internal communication guidelines
- Task progress reporting
- Definition of Done
- Responsibility assignment matrices
Plus, you should compile the list of deliverables, resources and potential roadblocks.
Hire Skilled and Experienced Professionals
When hiring or outsourcing your team members, you should pay attention not only to their skills, certificates and portfolio. You should select like-minded people who share your values. Such an approach should guarantee excellent dynamics and mutual understanding within your team — which, in turn, should have a great impact on the project’s outcome, you can try finding developers to do the project.
Every team member should understand their role in the project. They should know to whom they are accountable and which exact responsibilities they have. The more transparent the distribution of duties, the higher your team’s productivity and the easier it should be for you to assess your achievements.
To ensure that important project information is not overlooked, you might want to build a cross-functional team. This term means that all members should contribute with ideas and feedback for each product iteration, which should minimize the possibility of rework or misunderstanding.
Choose Common Tools, Applications and Systems
It should bring you the following benefits:
- Accelerate software development
- Offer easy access to the project’s resources
- Boost the project’s efficiency
- Promote more transparent and productive communication
- Ensure centralized information rather than disparate bits of data
All your staff members should be familiar and comfortable with the tools you’ve selected. Otherwise, they should be able to quickly complete the training that you organize for them.
Define Communication Channels
Effective communication is a vital prerequisite for the startup development process. Here are a few pieces of advice that you might want to follow:
- Hold regular meetings to discuss the progress of your project, identify disconnects and improve the cooperation within your team.
- Systematically provide all your stakeholders with up-to-date information about your work. These reports should include the essence of the last-minute changes that haven’t been discussed during the last meeting. You should make sure that everybody has a common understanding of the project’s scope, iterations, status or roadblocks.
- Pick the most appropriate communication channels for your project. Create a guideline to encourage smooth interaction between all members.
The term “effective” communication normally means “timely, straightforward, transparent, organized and constructive”. All the parties involved should have quick access to any information that they might need.
Maintain Project Documentation Properly
Some teams don’t like to document every step of the project they are currently working on because this task seems too tedious and time-consuming to them. But in the long run, it might turn out to be a life-saving decision. When you need to onboard new team members or replace an employee that has just left, comprehensive documentation will help the newcomers to join the workflow as quickly as possible.
It’s crucial that project documentation should never impact the timeline of the project. It should take place in parallel with project execution. If your team sticks to the Agile methodology, you might remember that communication takes priority over documentation.
Strive to Minimize Risks
The earlier you begin to address your project’s uncertainties, the lower your overall risk level. These are just a few examples of tasks that you might want to complete as soon as possible to prevent delays:
- Registration with a payment gateway provider
- Selecting a third-party software provider that your product needs to integrate with
- Engaging with the shortlisted third-party regarding licensing costs
It would be wise to build a strategy in advance that will help you to handle external factors — and, eventually, better control the progress of the project.
Hopefully, this article came in handy and now you better understand how to approach the software development process. Make sure your stakeholders agree on the scope and requirements of the project. Draft a detailed plan for the project and hire skilled, experienced professionals. Choose common tools, applications and systems, define communication channels, maintain project documentation properly and strive to minimize risks. These recommendations should help you to make the most of your work.